What Doctors Think The NHS Should Be Best Known For

As the NHS approached its 70th birthday on 5 July, members of the online community Doctors.net.uk were asked ‘As the NHS turns 70, what should it be best known for?’

Members, all of whom are GMC-registered doctors, were asked to make initial nominations on the website’s forum, and 16 were shortlisted by the Doctors.net.uk medical team. Members were then given the opportunity to vote for one or more of their favorites from this shortlist.

A total of 1,488 votes were cast by 463 doctors. The most votes went to:

1. Healthcare free at the point of delivery

2. Universal access to healthcare

3. Over-managed service

4. Inadequate numbers of clinical staff

5. ‘Misuse’ by the general public

Healthcare free at the point of delivery received 209 votes, and Universal access to healthcarereceived 207 votes, making them the most popular nominations for what the NHS should be best known for.

Dedicated medical and nursing staff was also popular and received 154 votes.

However, some of the nominations were more cynical, and a high volume of votes were cast for the following:

· Over-managed service (125 votes)

· Inadequate numbers of clinical staff (114 votes)

· Misuse by the general public (103 votes)

The 70th birthday of the NHS coincided with Jeremy Hunt being succeeded by Matt Hancock as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. This has been received with caution by members of Doctors.net.uk, with 70% being unsure about his appointment 15% welcoming the change, and 14% not welcoming the newcomer (n=119).

Doctors.net.uk’s medical team provided the following commentary:

“When doctors were asked on its 70th birthday what the NHS should be known for, the dominant themes related to the unique founding principles of the NHS itself. Doctors highlighted universal access to health services, delivered by dedicated medical and nursing staff, with no charge and no profit-related influence at the point of care delivery. Many doctors raised major concerns about over-management and regulation of the service which they feel is further restricted by inadequate staff and bed numbers, poor information systems and misuse by some members of the general public”.


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